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We have to brainwash ourselves. 

I’m not even remotely kidding. 

We have been brainwashed. All of us. For years. 

What I mean when I say that is, we have been influenced. Programmed. 

Sometime this has happened straightforwardly; sometimes surreptitiously. 

Many, many institutions exist in the world explicitly for the purpose of influencing how we think, feel, and behave. 

Many of these influence-wielding organizations and individuals operate with the best of intentions. They THINK they’re doing good in the world through their attempts to influence people. 

Political parties fit this description. Many religions fit this description. Activist organizations fit this description. 

The desire to influence how others think, feel, and behave is not, in itself, bad. Almost everybody wants to do this— many with perfectly good intentions. 

The problem is when we grow up thinking we have fully, freely “chosen” our thoughts, feelings, and behavior…when the truth is that we have been programmed, almost since birth, with other peoples’ messaging and beliefs. 

Why am I telling you any of this? 

It’s not because I want you to be paranoid. 

It’s because many of us are saddled with beliefs, feelings, and behaviors that don’t work for us. They work against us. 

And we think we have freely “chosen” those thoughts, feelings, and behaviors…when in reality, they have been chosen for us by advertisers, politicians, journalists, and other wielders of influence in our environments. 

Why do we believe the things we believe about ourselves? 

Why do we believe the things we do about behavior? 

Why do we believe that certain feelings or impulses are “right” or “better” than others? 

Many people, for example, think it is morally dubious to struggle with addiction— that only certain “types” of people become addicts. 

Many people believe that to struggle with certain facets of their sexuality is evidence of moral shortcomings. 

Many people believe that people who struggle to stay on task or complete assignments lack character or work ethic— that they are “lazy.” 

And many people believe that people who get involved with exploitative cults are somehow “stupid” or “weak.” 

None of these conclusions is supported by psychological research…yet, you’ll find these beliefs fairly widespread. 

Why? 

Programming. 

We have certain messages pounded into our brains, again and again, from the time we are young. 

“You’re not enough.” “Good people don’t struggle with addiction.” “If you think about sex, you’re bad.” “Depression is a sign that you’re doing something wrong.” “If you trusted God enough, you wouldn’t be anxious.” 

We get those messages on repeat— and they sink in. 

Programming is inescapable in our culture— and many times, it is destructive. 

That’s why we need to take charge of our own programming. 

We need to “brainwash” ourselves. 

We need to decide what WE really think and believe…and then put that on a loop for OURSELVES. 

It’s not an easy process. The easy thing to do is to kind of go with the cultural flow. 

But if we’re going to live a conscious, purposeful life, it’s a process that we cannot escape or avoid. 

Don’t let anyone else brainwash you. 

Brainwash yourself first.

 

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